I had thought I’d be prolific and come up with 40 reasons for coming home to the Catholic Church, one for each day of Lent. Well, Lent is over and you can see I haven’t quite finished (but will!). And I experienced more humility when I found this:
So here I am left in the dust! If you visit the site the author, Dave Armstrong, lists all these many reasons. They are primarily in an apologetical vein distinguishing Catholicism from Protestantism. That is related to my work here but a little more doctrinally specific that I have chosen to be. Nevertheless, a hat tip to Dave Armstrong for his work!
Here is one of the most extraordinary videos I have seen in a while. I am not sure how it was done but the portraits of Christ “morph” one into another. My only wish would have been that the author/artist might have used images of Christ from many cultures and nations. As it is, all the images here are European. Nevertheless, this remains an amazing work and a very fitting meditation for Holy Week.
Here is another video based on the Passion of the Christ. It is a powerful though imaginary account of the the reflection of the Centurion who was ordered to crucify Christ. As the account goes on he becomes anguished in his cry: “Why Am I killing this man?!?” In the end he accepts Jesus’ request that God forgive us and the Centurion comes to faith.
Watch this video! It is long (13 minutes) but well worth the time. If you can’t watch it now, come back later in Holy Week. But watch it. It is very well done.
Some who attended Mass today heard the Cycle A Gospel of the Man Born Blind – John 9. Here is an interesting computer generated video of that Gospel. The animation is a bit robotic at times, but it is an interesting use of technology and Internet to proclaim the Gospel.
Just for fun:
One of the difficulties of living in the modern world is that we can easily come under the influence of philosophies and errors that can mislead us. There are also many sinful influences that can corrupt our moral life. There is a traditional concept in the moral life known as “Custody of the Eyes” wherein a person is very careful as to what he allows himself to see. (cf Job 31:1; Mat 5:28; Psalm 119:37, etc.) And these days, in a world in which sound has a very profound influence, we also need to be very careful as to what we allow ourselves to hear. We must be careful to avoid evil, erroneous, and tempting influences. To put it more positively, we must actively seek constructive and truthful influence. We do this by keeping careful company, attending to the daily reading of Scripture and the study of the faith, and intentionally exposing ourselves to what is good, true, and beautiful.
Paradoxically, the modern world with all its problematic influences also provides us with many opportunities to craft our world and its influences. There are many options today insofar as how we choose to get our information and what we will allow to influence us. In the past we were stuck with just three networks and a few newspapers and magazines. Now there are endless possibilities available through the Internet, cable TV, and individual devices such as iPods.
I seldom watch television anymore. When I do, it is carefully selected: usually DVD-based viewing. I spend alot of time with instructive and helpful websites and blogs to get my information. I also spend a lot of time walking and driving with my iPod loaded “Catholic.”
There are many wonderful podcasts out there today that can both entertain, edify, and instruct you in the faith and in wholesome matters. Why don’t we start sharing what some of those sites and podcasts are so that we can help each other in the “custody” of our eyes and ears?
Let’s be clear, the sites and podcast you suggest should be orthodox, edifying, and instructive in the true faith. Let me get started by suggesting a few podcasts and sites I find helpful. Use the comments section to make your own suggestions.
EWTN has some great podcasts of its shows here: EWTN PODCASTS. I especially like the “Open-Line” call-in shows during which listeners to EWTN Radio call with questions about the faith.
EWTN and Catholic Answers also offer a huge number of talks, debates, and classes as mp3 downloads here: Catholic Talks and Teaching
I Podcast my own sermons, talks, and Bible Studies here: Sermons by Msgr. Pope
Lots of varied Catholic podcasts and other media formats are available here: SQPN
Patrick Madrid, a Catholic teacher and apologist, has a lot of material (some free, some for purchase) available here: Patrick Madrid
John Martignoni,, another Catholic teacher and apologist, offers a lot of free mp3 downloads here: Bible Christian Society
A 12-part Series by Scott Hahn on Mary is here: Hail Holy Queen
I know there are countless others but that’s a start. Please suggest others.
So here it is. Custody of the eyes and ears does not mean just shuttering your world and living with your head in the sand. It means directing your gaze in the proper direction and listening to what really helps. Load your iPod and get started. Before you know it, your mind and heart will begin to change, and little by little, you will acquire the mind and heart of Christ. Load those iPods with something Catholic and start walking (it’s a great way to lose weight too)!
The following comment and question came in from a reader and presents a very soul-searching insight.
I am a Catholic in my mid thirties, raising a family and faithfully attending Mass. But I must admit I have some concern that the Church is missing the mark in reaching out to people my age and younger. It seems that all the concerns of the Church are about internal things like translations and where tabernacles should be. Don’t get me wrong, as a faithful Catholic those things are important to me. But these discussions take all our time, and, meanwhile, the world around us gets more and more secular. Many young people I know are practical atheists; God and the Church aren’t even on their radar. Yet we continue to go on and on with our internal preoccupations. Any comments?
Yes, this is a very important insight. There is always the temptation for any organization with humans involved to become primarily inward-looking and to lose sight of its essential mission. Obviously our fundamental mission is to announce Jesus Christ, to go to all the nations and teach them what the Lord Jesus taught for our salvation. We are to bring people into living, conscious contact with Jesus Christ; to bring them into a transformative relationship with Him through Word, Sacrament, and witness. But too easily we can spend all our time consumed with internal procedures and policy, debates about furniture and buildings, etc.
As you point out, some attention has to be paid to internal issues; there can be some very important theological and faith-related issues in such details. But the danger is that this becomes all-consuming. Meanwhile we have lost the culture around us, and even more sadly, many indviduals.
What to do? I would answer that we as a Church should continue the very discussion you have begun. As we both seem to agree, the answer is not simply to disregard internal issues, but rather to continue to summon the Church to her fundamental mission. Your insight is powerful and is a profound call to awakening. If we do not listen to your wake-up call, we risk the proverbial fate of “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.” Some will counter that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against the Church, hence we could never be the Titanic. True, but no such promise is given to our western world, which increasingly has lost its way through secularism. Souls are being lost and error is spreading. We have to renew the good fight and take our message back out into the world as never before. That is one hope that underlies both this blog and the fundamental question asked by our Archbishop: Longing for something? Maybe it’s God!
Fr. Robert Barron struggles with the very problem you have raised in the following video—one of his best commentaries ever. He also has proposed some solutions.